Why is the Outdoor Classroom so special?

The Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School Outdoor Classroom is a large, enclosed courtyard where students from both schools learn about their environment in a natural setting.  Students have experiences with growing edible gardens, planting and harvesting food, observing the interactions between plants and animals, recording the beauty of nature in photographs and drawings, and more. Lessons are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, providing opportunities for hands-on extensions of the classroom science curricula.

Our schools are lucky enough to benefit from the support of the Sligo Creek Educational Foundation, the PTA and PTSA, our corporate and foundation donors, and our generous parents and students to keep this invaluable resource in shape for learning.  We have raised sufficient funds in recent years to give a grant to a part-time Outdoor Classroom Coordinator, who assists teachers and staff in developing lesson plans and activities for students in the Outdoor Classroom.  Little of our progress would be possible without these critical resources from Outdoor Classroom supporters.  Thank you!

In the beginning...

...and now...

How can you help the Outdoor Classroom?   How can you get involved?

The Outdoor Classroom is a precious resource that allows our students to experience scientific, social and other academic concepts in a real-world, hands-on way.  As a living resource, it requires constant maintenance and attention.  We are extremely fortunate to have a part-time Outdoor Classroom Coordinator who works with students and teachers to develop and teach lessons.  We rely on parent volunteers to do maintenance of the space during fall and spring workdays.

The jobs that need to be done to maintain the space include weeding, mulching, planting, trimming and sweeping.  Other jobs that the Outdoor Classroom Committee would love help with are

  • fundraising
  • community communications (getting the word out to parents, students, teachers and the community about all the great learning that goes on in the OC!)
  • website content development
  • organize the Spring workday
  • helping students with lessons under the leadership of the outdoor classroom coordinator
  • implementing any new ideas you might have!

If you would like to get involved, please contact the OC Committee’s Volunteer Coordinator, Monica Nermark.

Get the weather from our weather station:

Recent News

February 16, 2020

Our spring workday/celebration/tour will take place after the half day dismissal on March 27, 1:30-2:30pm. We will celebrate the arrival of spring, put up the shade sail for upcoming sunny-day studies, and transform the tunnel from winter greenhouse to spring tunnel. For those who have never visited the OC, or haven’t been there in a while, we’ll do a little tour of how the different areas are currently being used for education. The whole family is welcome. Students can earn SSL hours for helping out with site maintenance.

February 4, 2020

It’s still winter, but our spring edible gardening program is already in full swing! 1st grade got a jump-start this year, winter-sowing onion seeds in mini greenhouse boxes (a.k.a. repurposed clear plastic containers). After learning about the sun, moon and stars in science last fall, the 1st grade scientists know that our days are lengthening as we approach spring, and those amazing onion seeds will sense when the photoperiod is just right for them to sprout. What fun to anxiously watch for those first green sprouts as we enjoy lighter and lighter morning and evenings!

January 1, 2020

We have an exciting 2020 planned in the Outdoor Classroom. Spring always brings the excitement of the K-3 edible gardening program, and the second session of 5th grade garden club will kick off in March. Here’s to an amazing 2020 full of hands-on, nature-based learning!

Photos from our work